Dan Burn might not be a name to muster an army of new supporters in Riyadh and Chris Wood may lack the cachet of, say, Robinho — the marquee signing that heralded the arrival of the Abu Dhabi era at Manchester City.
But in opting for solid citizens over trophy signings Newcastle may just have set themselves up for a productive medium-term future, regardless of what happens in the next four months.
Sure, if millions of Arabian petro-dollars could have brought Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland to Tyneside last month you would pull the trigger on the deal but those options simply weren’t out there.
And, faced with that reality, the Magpies’ top brass and new manager Eddie Howe did well to resist the temptation to throw money at less prolific or unreliable options, thus avoiding the bedlam that saw QPR owner Tony Fernandes squander millions in a doomed attempt to avoid Premier League relegation in 2013.
Back then, Fernandes claimed he had allowed himself to be ‘exploited’ by unscrupulous agents and, while it would be unfair to cast aspersions on any foreign star who may have washed up on Geordie shores last month it is not unreasonable to think finishing above Watford, Burnley and Norwich would not have been the carrot some fixers dangled in front of clients in need of a new home.
Instead, Howe largely went for the tried and tested, making a splashy move for Kieran Trippier — who he worked with at Burnley a decade ago — before securing deals for Wood, Matt Targett and Burn. Those four signings tick multiple boxes in that they are likely to improve the team without creating an us-and-them chasm between themselves and their new team-mates.
All four are likely to prove useful and willing assets in a promotion push next season — should the worst happen and Newcastle slip through the relegation trapdoor.
With Bruno Guimaraes, Newcastle did dabble at the top end of the market. But aged just 24 and a current Brazil international, if things don’t work out for player or club the former Lyon midfielder represents a saleable asset rather than the sunk cost of a fading star seeking one last payday.
So the first transfer window of the new era at St James’ Park may have featured less stardust than advertised.
But in sensibly avoiding the traps that have befallen past big-money takeovers and showing they have acumen as well as wealth, the future continues to look bright for Newcastle.
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